Police: West Heidelberg

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The matter I raise is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. The action I seek from the minister is the reopening of the West Heidelberg police station in Altona Street.

I will make just a few points about this very serious matter that affects the residents and community of not only where I have served as a Banyule city councillor for five years but also where I live, West Heidelberg. It is a place where I have represented the community and contributed as a member of Neighbourhood Watch and where I continue to contribute as the local member of Parliament on the neighbourhood renewal program that we run there.

I also make the point that there are a number of important reasons for having an open police station in Altona Street, West Heidelberg. We can have discussions and debates about extra police resources, who has provided more police, who has opened more stations and who has made commitments that in the future they may or may not employ more police and about the different communities in which they may or may not be situated or placed. Ultimately the people of West Heidelberg simply want to know when their police station will be reopened by this government. It closed after the election. It closed in December. I know that because I live up the road. It is now being used as a storage facility for police records. There has been no consultation or discussion with the local community about this by Victoria Police.

What I suspect is quite possible is that Victoria Police command has perhaps gone down the path of closing this police station without reference to the new government, having seen an opportunity to do so. Certainly keeping the police station open has required vigilance from the local community for quite some time. So I am hopeful that the new Minister for Police and Emergency Services, the Deputy Premier, will be able to investigate this matter and will see that Victoria Police command should reopen that police station and that it was closed without consultation or discussion with or reference to the community.

I hope the minister can explain this without reference to the government. He has the role and he certainly has the opportunity to investigate this matter and to report back to me or to meet with the local community. I extend an opportunity to meet with the local community.

I would certainly be pleased to do that with our neighbourhood renewal committee, the Neighbourhood Watch committee and other local residents who would be keen to hear the commitment of the Baillieu-Ryan government to police services in West Heidelberg and in the northern suburbs.

I am very hopeful that the minister can address this matter in a satisfactory way and provide some support and assistance to the West Heidelberg community that I live in, represent and serve. I know that he would want to provide the best policing services for the local community.